Cape changes leaf-collection program starting in fall

Monday, October 22, 2012
Marion Weiss rakes leaves into a pile in her front yard Sunday afternoon in Cape Girardeau. (Laura Simon)

Changes in the city of Cape Girardeau's leaf-collection program this fall should make it easier for residents to go ahead and rake at will, city staff members say.

City manager Scott Meyer said leaves will not be picked up in zones as has been the case in years past. Instead, the city will use an automated truck that was purchased last spring to pick up leaves multiple times around the city.

Pickups begin Nov. 5 and end March 29.

Plans are for the truck to travel all residential streets in the city, where it will pick up leaves that have been raked to the curb. Once every street has been visited, the route will begin anew. In years past, the city had set several zones for pickup, but it had to adjust the zones each year and add weeks to the pickup period when six vacuum machines that required the work of up to 16 full- and eight part-time employees became overwhelmed.

Tim Gramling, the city's public works director, said some residents also didn't like that their yards would become covered with leaves again after the crews already had come by.

"If there was one complaint that was more common among most people it was that they only had one shot at it," he said.

The cost to operate the leaf-collection program using vacuum machines was around $100,000 each year. Gramling said based on new estimates by the city, that cost could be reduced to $50,000 per year. Cost of fuel and durability of equipment are two factors that could become variables in that estimate.

The city mailed brochures to residents last week with a full set of instructions. The brochure is available online at

Basic instructions include collecting leaves into piles no more than three feet from the street, not mixing in limbs, and not placing leaf piles in areas blocked by vehicles or in areas near trees, mailboxes or other obstructions.

The city also will offer a free drop-off period from Nov. 5 through Dec. 21. Residents may take leaves to 453 Cooper St., between noon and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each Saturday.


Pertinent address:

401 Independence St., Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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